ROCKET Rod Jensen grabbed a confidence-boosting try as the Giants made it six wins from 10 Reserve Team Championship starts with an impressive 32-14 victory over Hull KR at the DRAM Centre.
But Jensen’s strong performance as he looks to win back a senior spot after two shaky first-team displays was overshadowed by another ‘pocket rocket’ in the shape of in-form winger Jermaine McGilvray.
The 20-year-old may still be a relative newcomer to the Giants, but during his year at the club he has gone from strength to strength and once again showed he could be a potential Super League player.
By the end of a highly impressive 80 minutes, the powerful Huddersfield-based back – and close friend of Giants’ Super League full-back Leroy Cudjoe – had stormed over for a stunning hat trick of tries in a man-of-the-match performance.
And his efforts were closely followed by fellow winger Richard Lopag, who was also in scintillating form in his second game back from a knee injury which had kept him sidelined for the past two months.
In fact, it was Lopag who opened the scoring after nine minutes, with Tom Hemingway adding the conversion.
Hull KR quickly responded with a try of their own to level the scores.
But midway through the half, the Giants regained a lead they were never to lose as McGilvray collected a ball deep inside his own half and beat the cover in a thrilling race to the line.
Hemingway was unable to convert, but was on target five minutes later when Lopag collected a crosskick to touch down and make it 16-4.
Two quick-fire Rovers tries narrow the gap to 16-14 at the break, but in the second half it was all Huddersfield.
Within minutes of the restart, the Giants had regained their supremacy with James Martin’s break setting up McGilvray for his second, which was converted by Scott Glassell, before Jensen got in on the act with a 69th-minute score.
Yet it was fitting that McGilvray, who has spent the past three weeks training with the first-team squad, had the final say as he completed his hat trick in the 74th minute, with Hemingway converting to finish with three goals.
Unfortunately, the Reserves’ efforts couldn’t be matched by the Academy, who were beaten 24-10 at unbeaten leaders Bradford Bulls.
The Giants did, however, have the consolation of giving their hosts arguably their toughest test of the season so far, with tries from Nathan Chappell and Ed Barber, who also landed a goal, keeping the visitors in the hunt throughout.
Hat-trick hero McGilvray